and Home of
Operating Tourmaline Mine
In the World Renowned
Pala Gem Mining District
The HISTORY of the Oceanview Mine|
The Oceanview Mine was part of the Pala Chief Group of claims owned by F. A. Salmons, et.al., circa 1907. It was withdrawn from patent application and reverted to public domain. In 1970, Joe Zeld filed a mining claim and did minor work on the Oceanview. In Dec '73 it was sold to Roland Reed. The adjacent Hazel W prospect was purchased by R. Reed from M.Myers & Barker in Apr '74 and renamed the Elizabeth R. The Oceanview was patented by R. Reed in Dec '79. The Oceanview was sold to Jeff Swanger & Steve Koonce in Sept 2000.
Initial work began in 1974 on the upper portion of the Oceanview pegmatite which produced several thousand lbs of quartz and feldspar crystals. Some of the crystal groups weighed up to just over 80 lbs. Much of the quartz was of optical clarity very unusual for a gem pegmatite. This indicates that there was an abundance of depolymerizers in the natural toxic chemistry of the solutions which produced the pegmatite. Also found were beryl(morganite), some exceeding 1 lb in weight and yielding flawless faceted stones up to 100 carats (now at the Houston Natural History Museum). In May '82 a pocket was opened that produced the best morganite matrix specimens ever recovered in North America.
Work was moved to a lower, downdip portion of the pegmatite on the Elizabeth R claim. Continuing work in this area has produced outstanding morganite, polychrome tourmaline and gem kunzite crystals along with the usual accessory minerals such lepidolite mica, apatite, lithium phosphates, columbite, tantalite as well as quartz and feldspars.
The Oceanview Mine is the only fully operating mine in the Pala District per current MSHA and ATF registration and mining plans on file with all of the appropriate agencies. This means that we conduct all aspects of mining - drilling, blasting, storage, mucking, shoring, dewatering, etc with a certified mining crew including an active MSHA certified trainer. Our crew has a total of atleast 200 man-years of experience. We continue to develop and follow the pegmatite vein structures to find more minerals and especially natural gemstones.
In the late 1800's the only settlement was Salmon City up at the headwaters of Salmon Creek which can be easily seen just to the west from the Oceanview mine tailings. The first discoverers found the pegmatite, now known as the Stewart Lithia Mine to the southwest. Most pink elbaite tourmaline mined from Pala went to the Empress of the Ch'ing Dynasty Imperial Court and her entourage, who purchased everything they could get in order to have it exported to China.
In 1903 Frank Salmon and other farmers in Pala sold their private land to the government, and Native Americans and Mexicans from Bonsall, Temecula, and Warner Springs and other areas were transported to the valley around the old mission. The Oceanview Mine, Pala Chief and several other pieces of private property in the area did not sell and remaining as private property to this date.
The Oceanview Mine and pegmatite will continue to be one of the great classic locations for mineralogists. The Oceanview pegmatite will continue produce some of the finest natural pink tourmaline, kunzite and world class beryl specimens ever found in North America.
You can find additional information at The Gem and Mineral Exploration Company. Just click the name (to the left) and then click the Oceanview Mine link.
Thanks for visiting and learning more about the Oceanview Mine - The Last Real Operating Mine in the Pala District.